An old books store is always a special place with the sweet smell of old pages and piles upon piles of affordable books. As a child, I loved that not only were the books cheaper than new ones but that I could bring in my own books and exchange for more. Every time I visit Islamabad, there are many changes that have taken place, some pleasant, some not so much. But there are a few things that remain unchanged and are a welcome constant. Old Books Collection in Jinnah Supper is one such constant. I had always visited the shop and expected it to stay the same. The owner Malik Ejaz recently passed away though and this time when I visited the shop, I learnt much more about the shop through the courageous lady sitting behind the corner.
We had an interesting recent discussion on the Urdu Mom’s Facebook page about book stores in Islamabad and soon we were all talking about Old Book stores. Old Books Collection was a favorite with most and there a few reasons for this. The collection of books is always great and the staff pleasant and helpful. Most also remembered the owner as a gentle and kind individual who loved his shop. It was a sad news therefore when someone shared that he had passed away just three months ago and the future of the shop was now shaky.
I stopped by Old Books Collection a week ago and as always, it seemed I had stepped into my childhood from the 80s/90s while the busy Jinnah Supper market buzzed outside. It was delightful to observe my children enjoying the books just as I always had and I wished, as always, to be able to bottle up the smell of old books and take home with me. As we walked to the counter to pay, I noticed a lady sitting there who I had not seen before. As we started chatting, I learnt that she was Shazia, the wife of the owner who had passed away just three months ago.
Shazia has very courageously taken over the management of the shop to provide for her family as she grieves her husband’s death. She has three children, the youngest of whom is 4 and a half. She shared how she was learning on the job and the staff who has been with the shop for years is teaching her the ropes of the business. Old Books Collection was started by Malik Ejaz in the Jinnah Supper Gol Market in the 80s, and moved to it’s present location in 1994. The shop still has great books and recommendations by the staff. I found some treasures, as I always do on every visit. Old Books Collection now also carries new books along with old ones and plans to increase their collection of Urdu books and start an outlet in the recently opened “Shehre Kitaab” in F7.
Shazia is determined to keep this old books store open and talked about the importance of feeding minds with books and ideas rather than mindlessly spend money on clothes and eating out. I urge all of you in Islamabad to stop by Old Books Collection and encourage, not just this brave lady, but also the book reading culture.
Old Books Collection is opposite the Junaid Jamshed Store in Jinnah Super Market F7 Islamabad and is open Monday to Saturday 11 am to 11 pm and Sundays noon to 11 pm. Please do visit this old books store and share this information.